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Corrugated Glow 


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Corrugated Glow 

Written By: Ross Orr 


Drill (1) 

Drill bit (1) 

Hand saw (1) 

Phillips screwdriver (1) 

Tin snips (1) 

Utility knife (1) 

Wire cutters (1) 

or pliers with cutting notch 


Corrugated plastic sheeting (1) 

9V2" of 26"- wide, should have 10 wavy 


Hardwod sticks (1) 

3 A" square pine or hardwood sticks (3' 

per lantern) 

Utility wire (42" per lantern) 

Truss-head screws (6 per lantern) 

Sheet metal (1) 

Clear taped) 

or V4" heat-shrink tubing 

• Tea light candle (1) 

Sandpaper (1) 


A friend of mine recently finished a deck remodel, whose highlight (literally) is a transparent 
corrugated roof that diffuses sunlight in a delightful way. This inspired me to find some way 
to continue that glow after sunset, in the form of a lantern illuminated by tea light candles. 

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Corrugated Glow 

There are many colors and styles of corrugated roofing available, and whole 8-foot sheets 
(Sequentia brand) are $23 at my local lumberyard — that's enough material for up to 10 
lanterns. The kind my friend used for the deck is fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP), which 
diffracts light with a sparkly halo. After some feverish experimenting with cut-off scraps, I 
eventually came up with the graceful lantern design shown here. In the following steps, 
proceed carefully so you don't crack the plastic, which is somewhat brittle. 

Step 1 — Cut the sheet to size, cut uprights and wire. 

• Mark a 9 1/2" strip from the corrugated sheet, cutting across the ribs. This material is a bit 
too brittle to cut with a saw, but tin snips work well. 

• Quick Tip: Cutting plastic can leave ragged edges, which should be sanded lightly 
until smooth to the touch. 

• Cut 3 wooden sticks (uprights) 12" long. Sand their sides and smooth sharp corners with 
120-grit sandpaper. Measure 2" from each end and drill crossways holes slightly larger 
than the wire you are using. 

• When drilling the screw holes, if you don't have extra hands helping you, try holding the 
ends of the wood uprights between your knees for support as you're drilling through the 
plastic and driving the screws. Or slip a length of 1x scrap wood (on edge) through the 
middle of the frame, and prop up its ends to support the work. 

• Unroll several feet of wire, carefully unbending it be- fore cutting. Cut 2 pieces 21" long. 
Thread the wires through the holes in one of the wooden uprights until an equal length 
extends from each side. Bend the wires upward on both sides of the wood to form a "V" of 
about 60 degrees. 

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Corrugated Glow 

Step 2 — Connect the uprights. 

• Thread the wires through the 2 holes of the next wooden upright. Slide the sticks together 
until there is 5 3/4" of wire between them. Make sure this spacing is correct, then twist the 
second stick and bend the wires going through it to form another "V." 

• Repeat with the third wooden upright. You should end up with a triangular framework where 
the free ends of the wire align, overlapping by about 1 1/2". The framework will probably be 
crooked at first; tweak the wire bends slightly until the frame is symmetrical and stands 
straight. Leave the free wire ends unattached for now. 

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Corrugated Glow 

Step 3 — Attach the corrugated plastic. 

• Roll up the corrugated plastic into a tube, over- lapping the first and last ribs. This material 
is stiff enough that it will try to spring open again, so be careful! You may need an extra 
pair of hands here, or use packing tape, spring clips, etc., to keep the tube held together in 
the following step. 

• Slip the wood/wire framework inside the corrugated plastic tube, with one upright behind 
the overlap. Make sure that the wood protrudes an equal distance beyond the plastic at 
each end. Adjust the rib overlap so it is snug and even from top to bottom, and then tightly 
hold the plastic and wood together. 

• With a drill bit slightly larger than your screw threads, drill holes 2" from each edge of the 
plastic. (Don't drill into the wood.) Drive the screws into the wood uprights, but don't 
tighten them too much, and stop when the head just begins to press against the plastic. 
Check that the other 2 uprights are straight within their ribs, and then finish the remaining 
holes and screws. 

Step 4 — Join the wire ends. 

• Now you can join the overlapping wire ends together. Wrapping them in clear tape works 
fine, but for a more finished look, I used 1/4" heat-shrink tubing. (A wonderful craft material 
sold by electronics suppliers, this shrinks down to half of its original diameter when held 
over a flame.) 

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Corrugated Glow 

Step 5 — Make the candle base. 

• To make a platform for the candle, 
I cut a triangle from thin-gauge 
aluminum, although a coffee-can 
top works, too. Trace the outline of 
the candle in the center and mark 3 
rectangular tabs within this circle. 
With a sharp utility knife, puncture 
the metal and cut 3 sides of the 
tabs, then fold them upward. 

• Make sure that the tabs will snugly 
grasp the sides of a tea light, even 
when held sideways. Corrugated 
plastic can catch fire if exposed to 
direct flame (which smells 
horrible!), so for safety's sake, 
don't skip this step. 

Step 6 — Attach the candle base. 

• Mark the locations of the wires on the underside of the platform. Use a straightedge to 
start bending each flap downward. Put the platform in place and finish wrapping the folded 
flaps around the wires to secure them. 

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Corrugated Glow 

Step 7 — Enjoy the glow. 

• Flip the lantern right-side up again, snugly place your candle inside, and enjoy the glow. 
This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 , pages 114-116. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-02 06:15:03 AM. 

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